Studios have reserved some of their strongest works for the holidays with high hopes of gaining award nominations.
Your favorite film of 2012 may well have opened back in March, but according to Hollywood tradition, the year’s biggest and best rush into theaters in the fall, particularly amid the holiday season. It’s the time when most of the major awards contenders battle it out for prominence, all of them eyeing Oscar as the end goal. Between now and January, a formidable flock of prestigious films are poised to pack your screening calendar, from three major literary adaptations to political works that channel recent world events. It’s a diverse, exciting bunch, and we’ve got the rundown on 10 that especially stand out.
Joe Wright, the costume-drama director behind “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement,” teams with porcelain-skinned star Keira Knightley for the third time, bringing to life Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel “Anna Karenina.” Gorgeously realized, the movie largely unfolds on an actual stage, underscoring the artifice of high society and showcasing Wright’s growing formal gifts. Knightley is faithfully entrancing as the titular, complex heroine, and she shares the screen with Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Spotlighting Philadelphia in a way few films have, David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” merges family dysfunction and mental illness with Eagles love and dancing at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. However conventional at its core, the winning dramedy is a small triumph of disparate, yet cohesive, parts, and its solid ensemble boasts the talents of Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Jennifer Lawrence, who looks like the gal to beat for Best Actress.
Few movies this year will offer more eye-popping spectacle than Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi,” a soaring adaptation of Yann Martel’s presumably “unfilmable” novel. Newcomer Suraj Sharma plays the stranded title character, who winds up trapped in a lifeboat with a hungry tiger after a devastating shipwreck. The special effects in Lee’s incredible 3-D fantasy are worth every cent of the ticket price, and the tiger itself might be the greatest computer-generated creation to ever hit the screen.